As the morning began to brighten I greeted another photographer in an SNP parking lot. When he asked what I was there for I answered with one word; Whitetails. He grimaced and said that he only had time to shoot the sunrise. Trying to make the best of the beautiful sunrise developing I located a doe to silhouette against the awesome sky.
This buck had passed through the area where the sunrise photo was taken just a few minutes before I could get set up. Fortunately I was able to bump into him again later and capture some good images. I have been photographing him since the fall of 2007 and he has continued to grow larger antlers each year. I have often heard that a buck will grow his best antlers between 4-7 years 0f age and then go down hill after that. This buck is at least nine years old, perhaps more, yet his antlers continues to become more impressive as the years pass.
As part of the scrape ritual a wide eight-point rubs his antlers on an over-hanging branch. When making a scrape a buck will horn and over-hanging branch, rub his facial glands on the branch as well as chew on or lick a twig on the same branch. Once satisfied that he has sufficiently marked the branch he will paw the ground, clearing a small patch of earth, and complete the scrape by urinating on the bare earth.
When the doe he was guarding moved off he was quick to follow
Although I must still work for a living I am so very fortunate that this year my vacation time is allowing me to spend most of my time pursuing whitetails during the rut. I have spent so much time lately with bucks and bulls that when I crawl into bed each night and sleep begins to overcome me I see antlers bobbing through the dreamy mist.
This year I am Living the Dream